Guy meets girl
A mutual love of music brings together a vacuum repairman (Guy) and a customer (Girl) in "Once," the Tony Award-winning musical adapted from the 2007 film featuring composer/lyricists Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova as the unlikely lovers. Paramount Theatre concludes its season with a revival directed by Jim Corti with music direction by Tom Vendafreddo. It stars Barry DeBois and Tiffany Topol as the Guy and Girl. Previews at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, April 25-26, and 8 p.m. Friday, April 27, at 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. The show opens Saturday, April 28. $36-$64. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com.
Janus Theatre concludes its season with a reading of "Natural Shocks," Lauren Gunderson's riff on Hamlet's "To Be or Not to Be" soliloquy, spoken by a woman waiting out a tornado in her basement. Heidi Swarthout stars in the reading, which is part of the Natural Shocks National Project, Gunderson's theater campaign against gun violence. The campaign involves theaters around the country staging the play on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine murders and in solidarity with the National School Walkout movement.
The reading precedes Janus' final production of the season, which also addresses gun violence and stars Jennifer Reeves Wilson as a professor coping with an unimaginable loss. The company is prohibited from promoting the production due to licensing restrictions.
The "Natural Shocks" reading is at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20, at the Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division St., Elgin. $10. Proceeds go to the Elgin Community Crisis Center. The second play opens at 8 p.m. Friday, April 20. It runs at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday through April 29 at the Elgin Art Showcase. $15. See janusplays.com.
Aaron Posner and Teller (of the magic and comedy duo Penn & Teller) who adapted and directed Chicago Shakespeare Theater's "The Tempest," reunite for CST's "Macbeth." Ian Merrill Peakes stars as the power-hungry soldier and Chaon Cross plays his equally ambitious wife. In a prepared statement, Posner promised the production will have thrills that will have audience members "sitting on the edge of their seats." Previews at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. The show opens May 3. $48-$88. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.
Long-held secrets by employees of a busy Wall Street restaurant are revealed during a hectic shift in Will Snider's drama "How to Use a Knife," in its Chicago-area premiere at Shattered Globe Theatre. Director Sandy Shinner's production, which features Peter DeFaria and Anthony Irons, concludes SBT's 2018 season. Previews begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 26, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens April 29. $20-$35. (773) 975-8150 or shatteredglobe.org.